A to Z: Goodnight, Saigon

My brother really likes Billy Joel. He decides to see him and invites me to tag along with his girlfriend and him. His girlfriend says she can get really good tickets. I like some of his stuff, so I agree.

square1 The day of the show, we arrive at the arena. A man with a clipboard and flashlight points in the general direction of up when we ask where our seats are (there is no internet to search for a seating chart… what did we ever do without google?). We begin our ascent through level one.

Another flashlighted person points up again. We continue to climb, through level two. The next flashlighted person seems to gesture up again. I didn’t bring any hiking gear or food rations, but up we continue to go.

On the third level, a man with a flashlight (and I think an oxygen mask) points up again. The ceiling is now closer to us than the floor, and I’m not sure how much higher we can go. I wonder if our seats are on the roof.

This flashlight man, however, walks with us, up the steep steps, to the very last row. He shines his light on the last three seats in the section. Well, at least I’m on the aisle, I think.

My brother and his girlfriend sit next to me. I look down, down, down to the floor and pray I don’t have to go to the bathroom while I’m here. My brother leans over.

“What do you think?” he asks.

“I think if there’s a fire, we’re going to die.”

I don’t remember much else, except for this song, which is now my Billy Joel favorite. The lights from the stage simulated a helicopter flying, and the words and story packed quite a punch.

We made it out alive from our perilous perch. A lot of men in a far more perilous situation, honored with this song, unfortunately, did not.

This post is part of the Blogging A to Z Challenge. My theme is Musical Memoir. Each Monday through Saturday, I explore personal memories through my love of music, inspired and coordinated by the letters of the alphabet. Join in the fun and participate in the challenge, or leave a comment and enjoy some conversation. Thanks for reading. Peace.

7 thoughts on “A to Z: Goodnight, Saigon

  1. Never heard that Billy Joel song before. It’s rather depressing. When I think of Nam I think of the Stone’s “Paint It Black” or Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” Now I’ll have a third song to throw into the mix. The things I learn…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Both great songs you’ve mentioned. Billy’s song is sad, but I also found it hopeful about the guys sticking together in a really bad situation. And I was happy to hear the song at a time when I was beginning to realize we really didn’t learn about Vietnam in school. I then searched out information on my own.


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